Open forum answers I

Wow, looks like we’re on pace for a record number of Open Forum questions. It’s great to see the level of interest, and I’m so impressed with the quality of questions. Here’s the first set of questions and answers, but please feel free to continue posting questions throughout the day. Thanks!

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Question: I think it would be cool to get a list together of every player on the roster and their nickname that the teammates call them. Some are obvious like “Brownie” and “Kopi,” but some I’ve never heard before like Johnson, Ivanans, Ersberg, Parse, Purcell, etc.

Answer: Good one! Most of them are sadly obvious. I don’t know if I have heard oll of them or not, but I would go through it with: Brownie, Fro, Zeus, Ivan, Kopi, Scooter (Parse), Richie, Simmer, Smytty, Stolly, Willie, Dewey (Doughty), Greener, Harry, JJ (Johnson), Jonesy, OD (O’Donnell), Scuds (Scuderi), Quicker/Quickie and E (Ersberg). Not sure if I’ve heard one for Purcell yet. He might just be Teddy. Did I miss anyone else? I have to know all these, because they get said in interviews all the time by players referring to each other. I have to keep track!

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Question: Did you get any sense from other team’s media or fans that the Kings or any of our players are beginning to attract at tention? Good attendance? Cheers/boos, Kings jerseys in the stands?

Answer: Funny you mention that, because just last night I was taken by surprise, a bit, at how loudly Kopitar got booed at the start of the shootout. I mean, the opposing team always gets booed, but this was Florida and there’s no real rivalry there. To be fair, I don’t really have much to compare it to. Outside of Anaheim, I hadn’t covered a Kings road game in four years, so it’s hard for me to say what the reaction was like before this season. I certainly don’t think the Kings have yet become a “draw” on the road, the way Detroit has, but there is a certain awareness that the Kings are doing well, yes.

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Question: Not sure if youve answered this regarding youre new job. Whats the one difference that you absolutely love the most? And what did you miss most about the old job?

Answer: What do I love the most? Just covering hockey. It’s something I really couldn’t do at the newspaper, not the way it should be done at least, and that is nobody’s fault. It’s just a reality of the way newspapers are at the moment. In 14 years in journalism, I have enjoyed covering hockey far more than anything else, so it’s great to have the opportunity to do that again. The old job? I miss the people the most. Reporters/editors are a different breed, and there were a lot of outstanding people at the Daily News I enjoyed working with, but I still try to keep tabs on what’s happening there.

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Question: Can you find out why Jack Johnson became a defenseman? Has any coach along the way tried to convert him to offense? His skating and hands seem well suited for a scorer.

Answer: I have to presume he started out as a defenseman, from a young age, since I’ve never heard of any transition he made. When it comes time to do a feature on him, I’ll do my best to remember that question.

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Questions: 1) What do you think the Kings plans are with Frolov? He’s certainly not scoring much. 2) Same question about Purcell? I’m honestly surprised he’s not back in Manchester yet. Parse has shown more offensive skill the Purcell. 3) And what about the goaltending situation? Do the Kings intend to continue playing Quick every night and maybe mix in an Ersberg start? Do you think Bernier will get called up? 4) And finally, when you appear on the Kings broadcasts every night, how come Jim & Bob never mention this blog? They always tell the viewers to read you on lakings.com, but they never give the address to this blog.

Answers: 1) Plans, as in, during this season? Or if he will be with the team next season? Actually, either way I don’t know if I could say there are “plans.” Your plan is only as good as the next three or four games. Ideally, it seems as though Terry Murray likes that Frolov-Handzus-Simmonds line and would like to stay with it, but if Ryan Smyth is out, or if the Kings go through a period in which secondary scoring is the team’s clear weakness, they might have to re-evaluate. As far as if he’s staying, you might as well shake a Magic 8-ball. Nobody has the answer to that one. 2) I’d have to agree. I think there’s a hesitancy there, among the coaches/GMs, because they see potential in Purcell’s game, but it’s not coming out on a consistent basis. That rope only stretches so long, though. 3) It’s just a gut feeling, but I do think Bernier will be with the Kings at some point, even if it’s just a “reward” for doing so well with Manchester, to give him another taste of the NHL and keep him hungry. But unless Quick and/or Ersberg truly can’t handle it here, I don’t think the Kings will move from their plan and bring Bernier up as the No. 1 goalie. 4) They did it last night, right? (Don’t worry, Paul, I won’t tell them if you’re not watching…) They went through the features of the blog, etc. In general, I think it’s just simpler to promote LAKings.com, which is fine since the link to the blog (my huge face) is prominent.

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Question: Seriously though, for those going to the games, I do hope you donate generously to the food drive, or if you can’t make it, donate generously to the drives done by your local corps. Second, what would you consider be the biggest surprise so far this season where it comes to the players?

Answer: I left that first part in there, because it certainly is a good cause. As to your question, wow, I think it sort of depends on expectation level. I never expected Kopitar to be this good, so it would be easy to say he’s the biggest surprise. But that’s easy, so I’ll go to the other spectrum and say Brad Richardson. For a guy who didn’t get much of a look last season (he was hurt for a while too), he has impressed me with his tenacious play. Certainly not the most skilled guy, but he always tries to make things happen.

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Question: Who has a bigger influence on quick, Ranford or Hextall? Ranford seems to be the better day to day, but with that recent convo w/ Hextall, Quick seemed to have turned it around.

Answer: Hard to say, if only because you’re talking about two different styles of “coaching.” Hextall isn’t a coach, per se, but he’s there to lend advice/a kick in the butt, when needed. Ranford is on the ice with the guys, being very detailed in technique and form, etc. Certainly he works with them mentally as well, whereas Hextall is never on the ice. It’s a good question for Quick, but my amateur analysis would be that Ranford is his coach, but Hextall lends a different perspective at times.

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Question: I’d like you to ask Scott Parse how he feels about Nebraska-Omaha joining the WCHA next year.

Answer: I’m sure he would love to talk about that. I’ll make a note of it.

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Question: So far this season who, in your opinion, has been the biggest surprise and the biggest disappoinment? And why?

Answer: I hope I covered the “surprise” part of it earlier. “Disappointment” is a tough one, because again, it’s all about expectations. I expected the Kings to have trouble with secondary scoring, so it’s hard for me, personally, to consider that a team disappointment. Since you used the word “who,” I presume you’d like me to name an individual player, in which case I’d have to go with Purcell, since he started the season with a chance to really make an impact on the second line and is now a healthy scratch.

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